• CSSA

Choose to Challenge

The CSSA Women’s Group was an initiative first introduced at a CSSA Annual Event by our founder and first Chairman, Vanessa Van Santen-Smith.


From this and with Her foresight this gave us a number of key points to focus on:

To further the recognition of Women in associations and member organisations;

To further the recognition of Women, in all capacities in the UK Cleaning and Support Services Industry, including senior management and directorate level positions;

To organise activities which support these aims.


Although the British Cleaning Council 2015 survey demonstrated in general, the female/male ratio was balanced it did not reflect the same value when considering management positions and above. The greatest split was at Board level, a factor across may industries so we are not unique. Research suggests that women and the young will apply for a management or above role if they feel 120% confident in their skills and abilities, yet men will apply for the same opening when they feel just 65% confidence. Our aim is to change this!


Through training, support, mentorship and networking, the CSSA’s Women’s Group aims to support people in the cleaning and support services sectors to become the best that they can be by increasing their confidence, abilities and skills, and directing them to higher roles within their organisations.


There are two chosen charities that the Group supports Breast Cancer UK and Safer Places which is an independent charity which supports survivors of domestic abuse. The committee has managed to provide some virtual activities through lockdown that have provided significant funds to help both charities. As well as continuing charity related events we are now planning some exciting new activities towards the end of this year and into 2022.


I welcome the opportunity to be appointed as the incoming Chairman of the Group at no better time than when we celebrate International Women’s Day. The theme this year is #ChooseToChallenge.


We will aim to take up these challenges for our industry to:

  • Forge inclusive work cultures where women's careers thrive and achievements are celebrated;

  • Shine a spotlight on activity encouraging and uplifting women to pursue goals without bias or barriers;

  • Celebrate digital advancement and champion the women forging innovation through technology;

  • Assist women to be in a position of power to make informed decisions about their health and wellbeing;

  • Celebrate the work of creative women in our industry and elevate visibility for commercial projects and commissions.

We welcome involvement as additional committee members and to share the success stories of our fellow female industry leaders and look forward to mentoring those of you who are still on your journey.


Please get in touch ….